Monday, December 31, 2012

Sham Sites Offering FREE Services that Demand Payment to Complete Transaction Should Be Shut Down

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I was helping a young friend with his resume yesterday on  a website that claimed to be a "free resume formatting service."   After we spent an hour and a half inputting the information, we were informed that we would have to pay a recurring monthly fee to print or email the new resume.  Because I had been told that some sites offering free services conned people in this way, I had spent a good fifteen minutes scouring the site and reading the fine print before using it.  "FREE" was even capitalized on the webpage.

The reason this scam is so annoying is because there are indeed free websites that perform certain services, financing their services through advertising or other means.   But the problem is that there is absolutely no way of knowing whether a site is free or not until you have spent an hour or two working to input and polish the information.

These are hard times for many of us.  But that is no excuse for allowing  large chunks of commerce on the Internet to devolve into bait-and-switch scams.  Isn't some agency supposed to be regulating Internet advertising? I did a little research and found the following FBI website that investigates various types of Internet fraud, which you may find useful if you come up against these types of problems:

Stopfraud.gov

To report computer-based fraud:

IC3 accepts online Internet crime complaints from either the person who believes they were defrauded or from a third party to the complainant.
eConsumer.gov is a portal for consumers to report complaints about online and related transactions with foreign companies.

I hope that you find this information helpful.